The new Divorce Act requires that you provide notice to the other parent of your children if you wish to relocate. For clarity, relocation does not just apply if you are looking to move out of your current city/town; it applies even if you want to change your residence within your city/town. There are very specific notice provisions that you must adhere to as well as providing a proposal for a revised parenting plan. You need to provide the notice at least 60 days before the proposed move. If the other parent does not object within 30 days of receiving the notice, you are then at liberty to proceed with your move.
If the move is objected to there is a new specification in the Divorce Act with respect to the burden of proof for the relocation provision. The burden of proof refers to which parent has the onus to prove that a relocation would be in the best interests of the child. The Act says that if both parents spend substantially equal time with the children, the relocating parent has the burden of showing that any move would be in the best interests of the child. If you and the other parent do not have “substantially equal time” with the children and in fact the children spend “the vast majority of their time” in your care, this means that if you were to move, it would be the other parent that would have to prove that the move would not be in the best interests of the children.
I have attended many lectures and seminars with respect to the new Divorce Act changes and can tell you that the law is unsettled as to how much time qualifies for “vast majority”. It seems that most lawyers agree that more than 90% would be the vast majority, 80% of the time is likely to be vast majority and anything less than that is uncertain.
If there is no parent who has a vast majority of the parenting time, and if the parties are not in a shared parenting arrangement, then both parties bear the onus of proving the best interests of the children. All of this is to say that if and when you are thinking of relocating with the children, at that time you will need to consider whether or not the other parent objects to your move and if so, who may have the onus of proving the best interests of the children at that time.
If you are interested in reading further about the changes to the Divorce Act, there is more information on this page.